In the book of the Bible, we call, "Hebrews," there is a theme that courses through the message: Listen up!
Hebrews 1:1-3: Listen up, because God has been speaking to us in a lot of different ways over time but now He is speaking to us through his very own Son. This Son, Jesus is the "exact representation of His being." ("His," referring to God the Father).
Hebrews 2:1, Pay careful attention to what you've heard so that you won't drift away
Hebrews 3:7-11, Remember the Israelites wandering in the wilderness for 40 years? Don't be like them. What did they do? They heard God's voice and didn't listen.
Hebrews 4 expounds on the Old Testament references from chapter 3 to point out that each day is a new opportunity to hear God but our hearing is not just about words and ears, it is about believing and obeying.
Hebrews 5:11, the audience is chastised because they seem like they are not even trying to understand God any longer.
and the list goes on...
I don't know about you, but this is one of the ways I believe parenting makes me feel closer to God... and it is very humbling. I get frustrated when my kids don't listen to me. God gets frustrated when His children don't listen. It is also not enough for me that they heard what I asked of them (although, that is a good start). What I really want is for them to love me and trust me enough to believe that what I'm asking is what's best.
How do you think God feels about it?
The Hebrews were drifting, we want our kids to have faith with a firm foundation. How can we impress these truths?
Hebrews 1:1-3 evokes a connection to the parable of the evil farmers in Matthew 21:33-46 and the concepts of drifting vs holding fast or standing firm brings to mind Jesus' words about wise and foolish builders in Matthew 7:24-27. Parables and teachings like this are quick and easy to reproduce from memory at the dinner table or bedtime.
Take some time as parents to examine what forces are competing with God (and you) for your children's attention. As parents, we have a considerable amount of control to filter what is coming into their lives. Just last night we let our children stay up late to watch a special Christmas program on TV. I'd guess that about 30% of the advertising had subtle agendas that were not supportive of Biblical truth. If we let our kids go unchecked with the videos they watch, the music they listen to, and the games they play, we can't be surprised when good messages get tuned out.
Maybe these should be 3a & 3b... Apply the same ideas above to yourself. What are you watching, playing, and listening to? If our children see a good example of us not drifting but listening to God and trying to live faithful and obedient lives that'll make a big difference compared to a dad who picks on them, argues with their mother, never reads his Bible but tells everyone else to be a good little Christian.
There are a lot of fun listening games like operator, or crafts - connecting two cups or cans with a string... have some fun and use one of those activities as a bridge to talk about listening to God. Here is a fun "tin can phone" video that might be more interesting for older kids and adults: https://vimeo.com/61160400
<a href="https://www.freepik.com/photos/vintage">Vintage photo created by luis_molinero - www.freepik.com</a>